Consett & Sunderland Railway path

Route Details

  • From - to: Lydgett's Junction (Consett) to Roker (Sunderland)
  • Distance: 26 miles one way if you tackle the whole route, ideal for breaking up into sections: Consett to Beamish (10.5 miles each way), Beamish to Washington (7.5 miles) or Washington to Sunderland (8 miles)
  • Type: Disused railway path
  • Access: Railway stations at Chester-le-Street and Sunderland
  • Surface: Tarmac or good quality gravel
  • National Cycle Network: Route 7

Route Description

There is plenty to visit along the route. Between Stanley and Beamish you pass the intriguingly named Hell Hole Wood, managed by the Woodland Trust and part of the Great North Community Forest. The Beamish Open Air Museum is famous for bringing history to life, and its 19th century manor house and early 20th century town, colliery and railway station are well worth a visit.

Further along the ride, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre at Washington is a haven for overwintering migratory water birds, and has large flocks of curlews and redshanks - make sure you bring your binoculars.

When the route was built in the late 1990s, Sustrans commissioned artworks along the route so make sure you keep an eye out for the fantastic sculptures. 

Download a full route description.

Art trail

The route is one of Sustrans Art Trails and features a collection of artworks including Terris Novalis by internationally renowned artist Tony Cragg, a theodolite and an engineer's level at twenty times life size, on heraldic animal feet.

Local attractions

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Sea to Sea (C2C) Cycle Route Map, from Whitehaven/Workington to Newcastle/Sunderland. 


Much of the route follows the line of the former Stanhope & Tyne Railway, Britain’s first commercial railway, which was finally closed in 1985. The route into Sunderland takes you past the new Stadium of Light, along the riverside, through the marina and onto the beach at Roker.

26 miles